Over my sabbatical time the last few weeks.. things have been morphing in terms of where the Lord is leading me and what I have been studying.. more and more it’s been honing in on the gospel. I listened to this this morning and spend time in Jonah. Have a listen with me. x
Laughter is awesome. I mean hands down who doesn’t love laughing? I like smiling. I like GRINNING! I like giggling. And I love laughing til your sides ache and you’re about to fall off your chair or wet yourself or just be in pain from uncontrollable laughter. There is nothing like it.
Laughing is important to health, important to friendships, important to sanity and one lesson in laughter is.. it is good to learn to laugh at yourself. Me learning to laugh at myself has been a good life lesson.
And if I can.. laugh every day. 🙂
Especially with good friends.
Grace changes everything.
My whole life has been a long lesson in learning grace. It is one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learnt and it is one of the slowest coming and one I think I will continue to learn the rest of my life.
Grace is one of my favourite words in the world. It is the concept that turns history upside down. It changes everything and if the world would awaken to grace, everything would be different. CS Lewis said once in a meeting that it was the one thing that made Christianity distinct. The other world religious leaders agreed with him.
Our world is based on merit. You do this you get that. Whether it is good merit: I work hard, and get a college degree. Or sadly, revenge merit…. you shoot my cousin, I get even with you by shooting one of yours.
Grace is the opposite of merit. It gives good things, great things to those who don’t deserve it. It doesn’t just let you off and give you mercy, it gives you over and beyond and gives you freedom and restoration. It is extravagant. It is foolish. It It is a gift from God. And because deep down. All of us.. feel that sinking sense of guilt.
When no one’s looking.
When we are alone in our beds.
When the room is noisy with people and yet our insides feel hollow
and empty. Grace is what our souls hunger for.
In a world where we compare ourselves with everyone else.. grace is offensive to our sense of self- deserving and pride and self esteem. It is against everything having to do with self in fact. I have found grace a hard lesson to learn. Hard to receive from others and hard to receive from God. Because you can’t do anything to earn grace. The word earn and grace can’t even go in the same sentence. And that is incredibly frustrating to self sufficient people. I might be one of them. But slowly God has been whittling away at my sense of self accomplishment and how I compare myself to others and what I think people deserve and I deserve. And the more I learn the way of grace.. the more freeing I have found life to become.
I have learnt grace over and over again.. from the biggest sign of it.. when Jesus died to forgive sinners like me a lesson that I have learnt over and over again since I was a child.
But one of the most profound for me was on a fraternity house floor years ago. The Lord taught me grace. In a wild party with a crying girl on my lap with such a different background then me, I sat there holding her in her tears and the Lord spoke to me that we were the same. Because grace plains people. It tables us. There are no hierarchies. There are no.. I am better than so and so. When grace hits you… you realize you have nothing better to offer. That you are the same as everyone else. That your brownie points don’t count. There’s a lot more to that story, you can ask me about it if you want. I learnt grace that day. Just like I have been constantly learning from the Lord over and over since.
Grace plains us. It stops our comparisons. It says the “worst” of us are no better than the “best” of us and that all of us are pitiful sinners next to a holy God. But that there is hope….
And today and tomorrow.. I hope to continue to learn how I stand in grace – unmerited favour and freedom because of Jesus and how to give grace to others in words, in actions, in even how I think about them and me. It is the most profoundly perplexing of all of my life lessons… and most beautiful.
There is nothing on earth like a well crafted song. And when it’s hit.. musically, lyrically… emotionally… you just know. This is one of those songs in my book. I’ve loved this band since they first hit the scene and drove an insane amount in an evening to catch a live gig of them back in the UK. I look forward to the next time I see them in my city in November. This is the kind of songwriter I hope to someday be. Honest. Raw. Beautiful.
I had a friend at university who I’ve since mostly lost touch with except for the random facebook link and maybe swapping an email once every year or two. But at uni he was a bit of a big brother figure to me. And as he was about to graduate, on one of the last nights I saw him, he pulled up my little sophomore self and said “Christy, love people.”
And that sounded like good advice.
And so I did.
The best thing in life to happen to me was to get to know Jesus Christ.
The most important thing anyone should know about my life is Jesus.
Someday I will die and will be forgotten and the name you should remember is Jesus not mine.
Jesus matters more than you know right now. I hope everyone of you will get to know him for yourself. Some of you think you know Jesus and you need to erase the Jesus of your imaginations and get to know him as He really is. I’m from middle America. I know. There are a lot of bad ideas about Jesus that aren’t true. The “self help Jesus,” the “Jesus is some dead guy from history,” the “Jesus is here to fix all my personal problems but not require my very life to be his” the “Jesus is less than God.” All of those have to go.
While others of you don’t have the imaginary Jesus problem but think I have the imaginary friend problem, I’d like to encourage you… Ask God to show himself to you. Consider it. I encourage you as well to get to know Jesus: the self existent one, the God who is, the one who created everything.. the one who loves you more than you you know.
I was introduced to Jesus at a young age and became a Christian.. or a follower of Jesus when I was about 5. All I knew was Jesus was real. He loved me and I wanted to go live with him someday and he died for me and rose from death to make that possible. My mommy explained sin to me and why Jesus had to die. As a very little girl I didn’t know much but I knew I wanted my life to belong to Jesus.
And then the rest of my life happened.
And the rest of the story has been learning what all that means and really getting to know Jesus better. It’s been a bumpy road but he has been the best part.
Now I can think of some of my readers (yeah actually not just the random ones reading from middle of nowhere America or Russia or Germany that I see follow me regularly in silence – say hellloooo introduce yourself.. ahem! But rather people I actually know, friends, who’s names just popped into my head who are rolling their eyes at my insanity and we are only on point #1 of my life lessons.
I have 29 blogs to go of the most important things I have learnt in life. But Jesus is more than a life lesson. He is wonderful. He is real. He is precious. And he matters to every one of you even if you think I am a nutjob right now. All of my life lessons, whether they seem “spiritual” or “unspiritual” are inextricably linked to him. My prayer for you as you wander through my head in these readings, laugh with me, laugh at me, wince with me, in all the things I’ve learnt.. is that you will consider Jesus and what he has to do with you.
Jesus Christ crucified, died, buried, risen, and reigning and glorified is the best thing in life and eternity.